Local Coast Guard members ready to help with Hurricane Harvey relief efforts

Posted at 6:04 PM, Aug 30, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-31 05:34:16-04

It may be hard to believe, but emergency personnel are still getting about 40 calls an hour in Houston, Texas for water rescues. 

The Coast Guard is taking more than 1,000 calls an hour on their end. Some of those Coast Guard crews are from Tampa Bay, specifically the Coast Guard station in Clearwater.

Senior Chief Charles Fowler, a Coast Guard rescue diver, says he is just waiting for the call to Clearwater that it’s time for him to go help in Texas. Rescue swimmers like him train five days a week for two hours a day.

Senior Chief Fowler says you can’t train for mental toughness as a rescue swimmer, it only comes with experience.

“Until you’re actually on scene and seeing it,” said Senior Chief Fowler. “You’re never prepared for what you will be facing.”

The 22 year Coast Guard veteran helped with rescue efforts during Hurricane Katrina 12 years ago, expecting to see some of the same devastation if he is sent to help with Harvey relief efforts.

The Coast Gueard crew in Clearwater has already sent five of their helicopters to Texas.  They don't anticipate sending anymore, but they do think they will be sending more man power.